EXCLUSIVE: Reformation’s Latest Denim Uses Post-consumer Fabric Scraps
Published on: Nisan 7, 2022

Reformation is unveiling “Circular Denim” in its latest stride to clean up its denim act — and it’s tapping manufacturing waste for the first time to do it. The jeans are also designed to be recycled and eligible for fiber-to-fiber recycling. “We launched Ref jeans for the first time in 2017. We’re a few years into the category now, [but] we started it with the idea that it’s the most common thing in our closet, and also the dirtiest…. We knew we needed to tackle it,” said Kathleen Talbot, Reformation’s chief sustainability officer and vice president of operations. “The circular denim partnership is really about building those relationships and showing that there is a better way.” The collection will be available beginning April 15 in select stores and online — ranging in price from $78 to $198 — and including high-rise straight-leg jeans, pleated trousers, jean shorts, overalls and a denim dress. Today, roughly 10 percent of Reformation’s product mix is denim. The company hopes for its Circular Denim collection to pave the way for improvements across product lines. Already, the company is partnering with a range of partners to realize its 2025 “climate positive” vision.

These include FibreTrace (for tracing its cotton lines from fiber to product) and SuperCircle, as a proof point of tech-enabled recycling at scale. For its denim innovation, Reformation is partnering with Strom, a fully vertical manufacturer, and Bossa, a mill guided by zero waste principles. “They’re willing to try something new, and take those extra steps,” Talbot said of the brand’s partners. The jeans are made from 20 percent recycled scrap cotton and 80 percent FibreTrace cotton. All styles from this collection are 100 percent recyclable, according to the company. An estimated 12 percent of fibers are left on the factory floor, Reformation said, but through zero-waste production process with its partners, Circular Denim has a 27 percent lower carbon footprint and 89 percent reduction in water use compared to standard jeans. “We didn’t do that as a one-off collection,” Talbot said. “This is also now a design ethic we apply to our denim [since] we launched FibreTrace a year ago now. [Circular Denim] is also the first collection that ascribed to all of the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign initiative,” which includes improved sourcing and material credentials. Regarding Reformation’s transparency in constant improvements (like responding in real-time to a Remake report), Talbot said, “I sometimes joke we overshare….I think that’s part of the interesting opportunity of our time. There shouldn’t be a trade- off on aesthetics or design. There can be all this stuff happening behind the scenes that maybe the consumer doesn’t need to know, but if we are trying to have a rally cry to that industry, then we should be lifting up the hood.”